The challenges were supporting substance users and those affected, mainly in priority areas, to ensure clients most in need have access to basic phone, SIM (top-up, or data) to encourage regular engagement with our (and wider) services during this period of time.
This has been a most welcome addition to our work and has enabled us to reach/contact a number of clients effectively during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The balance remaining in the fund is at £2585.00 – as from Friday 21st August 2020.
One of our clients who is visually impaired, living alone and facing a number of constraints during COVID was supported by having a suitable phone issued to him that he could use to stay in regular contact with both his keyworker and wider (dispersed) family members. In terms of positive change to someone’s mental wellbeing – being able to remain connected to services, family and friends has been immeasurable in many respects at a time when face-to-face contact opportunities have diminished and work is ongoing but on a remote basis. This client was delighted and relieved to be able to receive this vital support which has aided his progress and recovery.
We are finding that clients are still needing support – we have a number of phones to issue in the coming weeks. We anticipate that more requests will follow. The purchase of the phones has been slower than anticipated as the vendors tend not to allow bulk buying – hence our slow but steady approach. We have issued phones to clients who have struggled to stay in contact with keyworkers and have been in various states of crisis.
We have also issued a number of smart video enabled phones to allow clients in recovery to be able to remain connected with their keyworker but also most importantly to be able to attend online recovery meetings and to be able to participate in daily check-ins with peers and staff. Many individuals are struggling with the ongoing restrictions in Aberdeen – and the current extended lockdown appears to be affecting our clients mental wellbeing. Obviously this can have a detrimental impact on substance use both alcohol and drugs, family life (relationships) and of course financial resources within families.
We anticipate that this will be an issue within our client group for some time to come as the complexity of life for them within the social restrictions continues for the foreseeable future.
We anticipate keeping this programme alive whilst funding balance remains positive. We have to show due diligence in issuing phones – as you might imagine although we are not issuing expensive branded units – they do carry some currency and as such we are ensuring that they are being used for their intended purpose by those that need them most.
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